New Jersey – Late last year, both the Helmetta mayor and the then-director of the Helmetta pound dismissed complaints from animal advocates, despite the fact that multiple agencies had found serious faults with the facility including mixing sick animals in with healthy ones, animals living in filthy cages, and importing dogs from the south without health clearances. Yesterday the former director and assistant director were charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty:
The New Jersey SPCA has charged Michal and Richard Cielesz with six counts apiece of animal cruelty. Half of the charges are third degree offenses, punishable by three to five years behind bars apiece.
The others are lesser disorderly persons offenses, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail apiece.
Authorities say that on the Cieleszs watch, three dogs were allegedly left outdoors for an extended period of time in poor weather conditions. Three disorderly persons charges have been filed against each for failing to provide proper care and shelter for the dogs. If found guilty, the Cieleszs could face a fine of up to $1000 per count, and up to six months in jail.
Three third-degree criminal charges have been filed against each Cielesz for failing to properly care for three cats, which were removed from the facility following the NJSPCA’s Nov. 13 inspection of the facility. All three cats died shortly after, with some ordered euthanized by a veterinarian.
The former director and assistant director, husband and wife, have been hiding from the media since the charges were filed, as has Helmetta’s mayor. The future of the facility is unclear at this time but the NJSPCA says all the animals have been removed.
(Thanks Clarice for the links.)